Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

A video of my cuckoo clock skull mask in action!

Published by Manning on February 22nd, 2016

A friend of mine took this video of me opening and closing my mask on Mardi Gras morning, around 9am at Jackson Square. The hinge mechanism in the door (made from a plastic file folder and some magnets) held up great over the course of the long day. Check out parts one, two, and three of my process for making this mask, and the article I wrote about making the little cuckoo bird skeleton. Fun!

The hinge was so convenient and helpful, I’m going to try to incorporate something like this in all my future masks! Seriously, it really beat taking my mask off and putting it on a million times throughout the day whenever I needed to eat or drink or talk to someone face to face.

Here’s another pic someone snapped (below) while I was posing for a photo for someone else. A really fun part of wearing this mask was noticing all the people noticing me opening up my face to have a sip of booze, and they all scrambled for their cameras! I was asked over and over to demonstrate for people; you won’t hear me complaining. My flask was empty by about 9am (that’s after starting parading/drinking around 6am) and then someone put this double shot of whisky in my hand. The day starts getting a bit foggy after this point! Luckily one of the skeletons bailed a little early and took my mask with him in our designated driver’s car, leaving me to party all day without worrying about losing and/or destroying the mask.

My cuckoo clock skull mask opening so I can enjoy a sip of booze

I look forward to experimenting with other materials and hinge-type mechanisms for future masks! While the plastic file folder I used held up well, using it all day made me realize a few shortcomings: The door had no way of staying open by itself; I had to always hold it with one hand or the folder would try to close by itself. The magnets hidden inside the paper maché proved to be really useful; the door never popped open on its own despite all the walking and dancing and moving around I was doing. Next year I may try real metal hinges; my hope is that they’d be stiff enough that I could open the door to any position and it’d stay put. I’m also thinking I won’t bother doing a complicated paint job on the inside of the mask next time; that proved to be really tedious work and in the end I don’t think people really saw that part enough to appreciate it. So maybe I’ll stick with just black or gray for the interior next time.

Surprisingly the pine cones and chains didn’t bother me at all, or get caught on anything, or break off. They’re really almost weightless and I didn’t even notice them bouncing around as I walked. That was a bit of a relief. And the bird skeleton and pantograph proved to be very sturdy; I accidentally bumped them on things a few times and they didn’t get damaged. I took a ton of chances with designing this mask and I kind of can’t believe how well everything worked out!

Interested in commissioning a piece from me? Please see my page about custom paper maché pieces. Please email me; don't put your request in a comment below.

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